Eczema is an allergy causing areas of itchy, red, scaly skin. It most commonly affects the face and skin creases such as the inside of the elbows and the back of the knees, but it can be more widespread.
It usually first appears between the ages of three months and two years, and then improves as the child grows older.
About half of all children with eczema grow out of it by the age of six, and nearly all of them grow out of it by puberty. Your child is more likely to develop eczema if other people in the family suffer from allergies such as eczema, asthma and hay fever.
Symptoms: Itchy red, scaly, dry patches, usually on the face or in skin creases, small bumps on their cheeks, forehead, or scalp. Clear fluid oozing from the affected areas.
What can be done: When you give your child a bath, clean the affected areas by wiping them with baby oil, a glycerin and water cream or emulsifying ointment, rather than washing with soap. Rinse well with water. After a bath, apply an unscented moisturizing cream to your child’s skin, since it may be very dry. Baby’s brands are ideal.
Dress your child in cotton, rather than wool. In cold weather, put cotton clothing under warmer layers. Try to stop your child scratching the affected areas-put scratch mitts on him at night if this seems to help, and keep his fingernails short.
Try to discover the cause of the allergy. Common allergens include foods 9especially dairy products and wheat), animal fur, woolen clothes and washing powder. Anxiety can trigger eczema, so find out if anything is worrying your child. When your child’s eczema is bad, keep him away from anyone with chicken pox or a cold sore.
Call the Doctor if your child’s eczema is very widespread or very itchy, fluid is weeping from the eczema. The doctor may prescribe a cream, and if the area is infected, an antibiotic may be given. If your child is allergic to a particular food, your doctor or health visitor can advise you to give him a balanced diet while avoiding that food.